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With a whooping milllenial population, the business travel market in India is set to grow at a rate of over 11 percent over the next 5 years, according to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA).
That underlines that there is considerable scope for Indian companies to adopt latest technologies in the segment. Mankiran Chowhan, Managing Director Indian Subcontinent, SAP Concur tells us more the technological advancements, ensuring travel and more.
Q: While travelling for business, is employee safety at times compromised over business needs?
Mankiran: As business travel becomes common, it becomes crucial for organisations to ensure safety of their employees and step up their duty of care. According to a recent SAP Concur Survey, 28 percent of business travellers in India put safety as a priority while 29 percent put business first. So, a lot of Indian business travellers de-prioritise safety despite their experience on the ground.
Q: What technological innovations is SAP Concur driving in India?
Mankiran: For more than 25 years, SAP Concur has taken companies of all sizes and stages beyond automation to a completely connected spend management solutions encompassing travel, expense, invoice, compliance and risk.
We are committed to understanding today’s travel and expense priorities; balancing compliance, safety, and productivity needs; making travel and expense easy for employees; and creating the intelligent enterprise with a proven solution. SAP Concur is focused on delivering experiences that meet users where they are.
As we move towards a cashless environment, the initial frenzy and confusion have given way to a paper-free work environment.
Digital initiatives have captured the imagination of a cashless economy thereby reducing our dependency on paper. In the corporate world, this could signal the beginning of a paperless culture.
Companies that have adopted electronic expense reporting have experienced a whopping 58 percent reduction in processing costs and greater ROI. The automated system enables employees to book travel plans that are compliant and cost-efficient, manage expenses without having to keep track of paper receipts or fill out spreadsheets and gain approvals and in-turn reimbursements more quickly. No more collecting paper receipts, filling out paper expense forms and trying to get reimbursed.
Additionally, India has a fast-growing millennial Workforce (Digital Natives). Even across the globe it’s expected that by 2020, millennials will form 50 percent of the global workforce. One of the defining characteristics of the millennial generation is their comfort with the digital world. They have grown up with broadband, smartphones, laptops and social media, and are accustomed to instant access to information.
This is a great opportunity for organizations to attract a younger workforce by providing them with good and efficient technology tools.
With reference to duty of care for employees we have solutions that can enable organisations to protect employees by staying aware of events and travel itineraries. Whether it’s a simple change of plans or an emergency, our solutions enable you to fulfil your duty of care.
It empowers you to identify risks and assess their impact, pinpoint employees’ locations and know their travel plans using machine learning, leverage multiple options for two-way communications and deploy local response teams if necessary.
Q: Any new business/corporate collaborations with other channels in India? Who are your current partners in India?
Mankiran: We recently announced a partnership with HDFC Bank and Mastercard, that will enable Indian corporates of all sizes to reimagine the way they pay for, reconcile and manage company spending. To help facilitate this,
HDFC Bank will be offering a corporate credit card for business travellers, providing a one-stop solution for payment and expense management during business trips. The corporate credit card will enable seamless integration of all business-related spend into SAP Concur offerings, enhancing employee experience, increasing visibility, saving money, and improving corporate efficiency. The card is supported by Mastercard.
SAP Concur provides a global ecosystem in which travel, expense, and invoice processes can be automated and interconnected whether they be cab aggregators, hotels chains, travel agencies etc. for an enhanced user experience. We have partners like American Express, Thomas Cook, Riya travels to name a few.
If you are looking at Service providers we have the likes of VAT IT, EY, Fintrans Solutions etc and if you are looking at ground transportation then we have the likes of Uber, Ola etc.
Q: How have Indian companies adopted technology in business travel segment?
Mankiran: There is great potential in the Indian market for the adoption of latest travel technologies. Since India is an evolving and fast-growing business travel market, it’s imperative to ensure a safe and secure environment for all business travellers.
Millennials are soon going to be a major part of the workforce in India and this tech-savvy generation expects the same experience during business tasks as they get on a consumer app. While business travel market in India is set to grow at a rate of 11.3 percent over the next 5 years, according to Global Business Travel Association (GBTA), there is considerable scope for Indian companies to adopt latest technologies for effectively managing expenses and ensuring employee ease and safety.
Many Indian companies still rely on old paper-based expense processes. The negative impact of the same is clearly demonstrated by the 31 percent Indian business travellers who say they are stressed about filing an expense report after a business trip in the middle of a busy workday (according to the recent SAP Concur Business Traveler survey).
There is huge scope for Indian companies to adopt intelligent spend management solutions that ensure higher visibility into employee expense, ease for travel booking, seamless claims filing and better employee safety.
Q: Can you talk about inclusivity and safety of biz travellers (women, trans, LGBT) that SAP Concur is committed to?
Mankiran: SAP Concur is committed to provide intelligent spend management solutions that help organizations streamline their business travel, expense and invoice management. We believe in technology for good of all users. Today, technology is being used to help employers have better visibility of spends and ensure safety of their employees at the same time.
Things are also deeply difficult for LGBTQ+ Indian business travellers, nearly 3 in 4 (73%) of whom have hidden their sexuality on a business trip out of concern for their safety.
Technology provides safety for everyone, especially to more vulnerable communities/groups of people by offering an additional safety net. So, the benefit of having an integrated travel and expense management solution can ensure that you can pinpoint the employee’s location anywhere in the world at any time(using the travel booking and expense data), predict the risks in those locations and initiate real-time communication with the employee for immediate assistance.
Q: What are the new trends in business travel?
Mankiran: In today’s technology-driven and hyper-connected business world, changes in customer expectations, societal shifts and industry disruptions prevail. Some trends in business travel basis the recent developments in economics, travel and environment scenarios are as below:
> By harnessing technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML) and Deep Data Analytics, automation will deliver greater productivity and intelligence to operations.
> Technology would also be leveraged to provide superior experience to travelling employees in terms of ease, safety and seamless claim processes.
> There will be a bigger emphasis on implementing corporate travel systems to get better deals
> Owing to the consumerization of workplace tech, organisation would endeavour to meet employee expectations about how workplace technology should evolve. >Mobile-based solutions will be preferred to drive employee satisfaction and retention.
> B-leisure trips will be on the rise. Indians rank 2nd among B-leisure travellers globally according to a survey conducted by Booking.com. People are increasingly approaching travel with a sense of purpose and companies are expected to factor this into their travel policies, providing breathing room and additional programs for their employees to make a difference.
> Safety will go hand in hand with employee satisfaction. The issue of traveler safety overall for all employees, will reach critical mass in 2020 owing to more awareness on personal safety. Workers will increasingly demand more information and resources to stay safe during their work trips.
> Paper receipts will decline as smart receipts rise – A significant increase in the number of digital receipts provided by suppliers will be witnessed. Employees will benefit, as receipt data flows more easily into expense reports, eliminating frustrations about lost receipts and helping employees get reimbursed faster.
> Hotels and other travel vendors will make wellness amenities the new norm Business travellers worry about the impact on their health. Hotels, airports and other vendors will offer various wellness services to help travellers maintain a healthy lifestyle on the road.
>Environmental concerns will accelerate eco-conscious travel. As discussions around climate change intensify, travellers and companies will continue to strive for more sustainable traveling options. (IANS)
By- Salil Gewali
If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
Religion without compassion might give way to hatred. Compassion with a "self-interest" motive is completely irreligious. But of late, some of the religions have departed from those basic human values. Love and compassion are for only those who follow their "specific" faith. Very sadly, the religions are up as trading commodities in the world of proselytization. Better preachers attract more followers. Of course, no issue if they are not vying for their religious "supremacy". But the ground reality is utterly different. The claim for exclusive supremacy has become the first commandment --- a real bone of contention among the existing religions. In the name of religion, we have polluted our minds. we have corrupted our souls. We have also gone so much astray that God must have now shut his gateway to heaven!
Are we not too foolish to believe in the twenty-first Century --- my God is different and your God different? If the Sun and the Moon are the same for Islam, Hindu, Buddhist, Christian, by that simple logic, why is the CREATOR of the infinite cosmos not ONE for all? Is the digestive system in the stomach of a Hindu and a Christian different? The body system secrets the same kind of digestive enzymes to digest the food eaten by people of any faith. One divine power is controlling each of us. It is too outrageous that we bear malice and hostility towards others for God. The paths are different but the destination is the same. One wonders in amazement, why we are so "unscientific" in our approach to the Almighty? Why is there so much bad blood among the different faiths? Truly, our fanaticism and belligerence have become the stumbling block in our understanding of the real teachings of the holy scriptures.
Follow NewsGram on Facebook to stay updated.The recent unprecedented brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us more anxious. It should also serve as a wake-up call for West Bengal and Assam. How could one's holy place of worship provoke godless hatred in others? If God-believing people nurture animosity for others, then that religion itself has been wrongly understood or misinterpreted. Who all are to blame? Is there any organisation of rectitude that will come up to address this glaring fault line?
Brutal atrocities upon Hindus in Bangladesh during the holy festival of Durga Puja made each of us anxiousFile
All should agree that "tolerance to inhumanity" begets more violence. The act of vandalizing the religious pandals of Hindus in Bangladesh is utterly unpardonable. This calls for serious soul-searching. Who has placed the Holy Koran near the sanctum sanctorum of Hanuman Idol? The investigating agency has found out that it was not by Hindu, but some Iqbal Hossain with wrong intent upon the minority Hindus.
Iqbal Hossain, a Muslim, deliberately placed a copy of the Quran at a Puja Pandal and gave hate speeches against HindusFile
Of course, this act is not at all sacrilegious as understood. One holy mandap and another holy book do not make anything unholy. But the "intention" must be good. It is my personal observation. But this incident, a pre-mediated plan with "wrong motive", has stoked the unprecedented communal violence in Bangladesh. And consequently, many places of worship were desecrated, sacred idols were destroyed, houses and business properties of the minority community were burnt down. Besides the United State, even UN officials condemned this diabolical cruelty against the minority Hindus. Tulsi Gabbard, a member of the U.S. House of Representatives, retorted – "God is love, and his true servants embody and manifest that love in this world. It is time for the supposedly secular government of Bangladesh to protect that country's religious minorities from the jihadist forces of hate."
The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond descriptionFile
Hatred for Hindus is not confined to Bangladesh. Even in the home states, Hindus are not at all safe. Kashmir, West Bengal, Assam, Kerala have become the hotbed of crime and violence against Hindus even then being the majority. The Hindus in the country are experiencing regular vitriolic attacks from the dogmatic group which is beyond description. The silence of the unpatriotic media, and other sinister forces have given enough leverage to such extremist elements. It has been established that madrasas are factories where tender minds are radicalized – the fact is passionately reiterated by an eminent social activist Khalid Umar of Lahore, Pakistan. Just two days ago, one boy in Assam posted a photo in which he placed his foot on a Ganesh idol. Such shocking instances with photos and videos are regularly posted on social media. But such cases are suppressed too soon.
Well, one can't agree more than what Human Right Activist and a senior journalist of Bangladesh – Mr Saad Hammadi has said --- "Such repeated attacks against individuals, and destruction of the homes and places of worship of minorities in Bangladesh over the years show that the state has failed in its duty to protect minorities. Targeting religious sensitivities to stoke communal tension is a serious human rights violation and requires immediate and decisive action from the government to address the situation of minorities in the country."
Here one wishes that all people would stand with Mr Saad Hammadi. The hatred and violence should always be vociferously condemned by one and all. No one has the right to hold humanity to ransom. As believers of GOD, all should shake off narrow dogmatism and malice. All need to follow the path that takes us from darkness to light and ignorance to knowledge. The practice of expressing LOVE and COMPASSION for "all" ---- irrespective of caste, creed, and colour, always ensures communal harmony and peace. Not just that, it is the pathway to DIVINITY. If humanity is hurt, God is hurt.
An India-based writer and researcher, Salil Gewali is best known for his research-based work entitled 'Great Minds on India' that has earned worldwide appreciation. Translated into Twelve languages, his book has been edited by a former NASA scientist – Dr AV Murali of Houston, USA.
By- Your Service
Taking out time for family has become very difficult as people are pretty busy in daily life and find very little time to spend with their loved ones. Planning a family vacation is an excellent way through which the whole family can step away from their daily life and have fun. You can find many destinations for a family vacation, but there is no place that can beat Aruba.
Being a part of the Caribbean islands, Aruba is a great destination to spend quality time with family. A family vacation in the Caribbean is just a fantastic choice as the islands are a great blend of everything that sums up an unforgettable time filled with adventure and fun. Aruba being one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands, is perfect for spending some quality time with family members.
There will never be a boring moment in Aruba as there is a lot to do for the best of vacation time. Be prepared to have the best of time and relaxing times. As you are going on a family vacation, you need to book and plan everything to make sure that you do it online to get the best deals. Enjoy your budget vacation in Aruba with your loved ones. Here are the ten reasons you need to plan your dream family vacation to Aruba.
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1. Beaches Curated for Families & Kids
There are plenty of beaches, in Aruba, and the best one amongst them is Palm Beach and Eagle Beach. Along with your family, you can make the most of your time by spending time on the beach. To make your beach day even more impressive, you must pack some snacks and your favourite drinks.
2. Amazing Outdoor Adventures
You can treat your family to unique outdoor activities in Aruba, such as UTV tour, ATV tour, snorkelling, Catamaran sail, jeep tour, jet skiing, and a lot more only at Around Aruba Tours & Rentals. If your kids love to indulge in some thrilling adventures, then there are many activities from which they can choose.
3. Safest Island
When it comes to family, safety becomes the topmost priority. You don't have to worry about it when you are in Aruba, as this island is regarded as one of the safest islands amongst the other Caribbean islands. You will not face any issues during your family vacation.
4. Best Accommodation for Families
In Aruba, there is a vast range of accommodations to choose from, due to which you can find the perfect pick for small as well as big families. At www.VacationAruba.com you can find amazing Aruba villas for your stay. It is an excellent choice as they are quite reasonable and provide many amenities and facilities. The Aruba villa has great interiors, an outdoor facility, amazing bedrooms, clean bathrooms and huge living space. Aruba Villa Rental are the perfect and luxurious vacation rental for families.
5. Interesting Sightseeing Attractions
There are many sightseeing attractions in Aruba, so you must choose to visit the places you like. You will get to find many fun-filled excursions which you will be able to do that your kids will really enjoy.
6. Rich Culture & Heritage
Family is all about the culture and the heritage that has been running for many years; similarly, the island has a rich culture & heritage which you will love to know. Visit the alluring sightseeing destinations of the island and book a tour so that the tour guide can guide you well. On the guided tour, you will get to listen to many stories related to the places that you will visit. Your kids and other family members will love it.
7. Perfect Fishing Adventure
The fishing adventures are just perfect if you and your family love fishing, so along with them, you can head out to catch all the exotic species. You will get to find such amazing species which you might not get in your home country, and the best part about Aruba is that the water is always brimming with lots of fish to catch. There are many fishing techniques that you can try out, like deep-sea fishing, trolling, fly fishing, and a lot more. After fishing, you can enjoy the catch of the day as there are some restaurants which will serve you.
8. Great Cuisine Options That Fits All
You will find a very wide range of cuisine options in Aruba due to the rich cultural diversity. There are people from different parts of the world who reside in Aruba, due to which you will find your cuisine easily on the island. It is best if you try out the local Aruban cuisine and cocktails, which you will not get anywhere else. Apart from experimenting with food, there is a wide variety of street food as well as fine dining options.
ALSO READ: How Vacations Create Strong Family Bonds
9. Breathtaking Natural Beauty
The natural beauty of Aruba is such that you will just be enchanted by it. You can spend quality time with your family members along with enjoying the breathtaking sights. There are tons of natural wonders that you will love, and the sights are such which you might not find them anywhere else. The incredible beauty of Aruba is what attracts people from all different parts of the world. Plan your days in Aruba in such a way that you are able to visit most of the natural wonders.
10. Snorkeling Fun
By snorkelling in Aruba, you will get to see the exotic species and the marine life of Aruba.Pexels
This activity is something that all of your family members will truly love. By snorkeling in Aruba, you will get to see the exotic species and the marine life of Aruba. Be prepared to get truly mesmerized by the beauty of Aruba. There are many snorkeling spots in Aruba, and everywhere you will have a great experience. You must try out snorkeling at Eagle Beach to get the best experience. The water in Aruba is so clear that you will have a great experience doing snorkeling.
Here were the ten reasons you need to plan your dream family vacation to Aruba. On vacation, remember to make each moment the best when you are in Aruba.
Disclaimer: (This article is sponsored and includes some commercial links)
NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory has for the first time spotted signs of a planet transiting a star outside of the Milky Way galaxy, opening up a new avenue to search for exoplanets at greater distances than ever before.
The possible exoplanet -- or planets outside of our Solar System -- candidate is located in the spiral galaxy Messier 51 (M51), also called the Whirlpool Galaxy because of its distinctive profile, NASA said in a statement.
Astronomers have, so far, found all other known exoplanets and exoplanet candidates in the Milky Way galaxy, almost all of them less than about 3,000 light-years from Earth.
An exoplanet in M51 would be about 28 million light-years away, meaning it would be thousands of times farther away than those in the Milky Way, NASA said.
"We are trying to open up a whole new arena for finding other worlds by searching for planet candidates at X-ray wavelengths, a strategy that makes it possible to discover them in other galaxies," said Rosanne Di Stefano of the Center for Astrophysics at Harvard and Smithsonian (CfA) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who led the study.
The findings are published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
The exoplanet candidate was spotted in a binary system called M51-ULS-1, located in M51. This binary system contains a black hole or neutron star orbiting a companion star with a mass about 20 times that of the Sun. The X-ray transit they found using Chandra data lasted about three hours, during which the X-ray emission decreased to zero.
Based on this and other information, the team estimates the exoplanet candidate in M51-ULS-1 would be roughly the size of Saturn and orbit the neutron star or black hole at about twice the distance of Saturn from the Sun.
The team looked for X-ray transits in three galaxies beyond the Milky Way galaxy, using both Chandra and the European Space Agency's XMM-Newton. Their search covered 55 systems in M51, 64 systems in Messier 101 (the "Pinwheel" galaxy), and 119 systems in Messier 104 (the "Sombrero" galaxy).
However, more data would be needed to verify the interpretation as an extragalactic exoplanet. One challenge is that the planet candidate's large orbit means it would not cross in front of its binary partner again for about 70 years, thwarting any attempts for a confirming observation for decades, NASA said.
Named in honor of the late Indian-American Nobel laureate, Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, the Chandra X-ray Observatory is the world's most powerful X-ray telescope. It has eight times greater resolution and is able to detect sources more than 20-times fainter than any previous X-ray telescope.
Known to the world as Chandra (which means "moon" or "luminous" in Sanskrit), Chandrasekhar was widely regarded as one of the foremost astrophysicists of the twentieth century. (IANS/JB)
Keywords: NASA, Space, Milky Way galaxy, Solar System, an X-ray telescope.